College is the last step students take before diving head-first into the real world. Ithaca College prepares us well for our choice of job fields; our classes for the most part will give us the tools to succeed at our jobs, but will not teach us how to fill out I-9 forms, pay our taxes or how to pay back student loans. Many students who are unable to rely on parental figures in their own lives resort to using the internet to guide them through loans and personal finance. This spreads misinformation and may do more harm than good for students who need to figure out how to pay loans or taxes.
While students may not be able to get the financial literacy they may need from their classes, the college does offer other options for students like the Personal Finance Clinic. The clinic is such a valuable and underused tool for students at the college. Some students don’t think it’s necessary to attend the clinic now; they may think that they have time to learn personal finances later on or late into their senior year, but now is the time to learn. The clinic is run by students from the School of Business who are well-versed in the world of finance — while they may not know the answer to all questions, they have their own personal experience with finances and can be valuable peer resources. The workshops are there as a tool for students to receive advice and suggestions. The clinic is open every day during varying hours and on the weekends. As college students, some of our biggest concerns financially right now stem from student loans and day-to-day expenses. The clinic can help answer questions about student loans from students who will have to pay loans as well. It can help teach about budgeting and establishing good financial habits.
However, students may not be aware that this clinic is an available resource for them. Using both social media, emails and flyers may help shine more light on the clinic. College courses are for a student’s field of study, and while there are a few classes offered at the college about financial literacy, students may not take these courses because they don’t fit into their schedules. The clinic is a free service catered to students, open for students to attend every day of the week at varying times. Students may be busy with and overwhelmed with work and their studies but the clinic hours allow the center to be inclusive of busy schedules and give multiple opportunities for even the busiest student to stop by, even if it’s only for half an hour.